By Nazrin Gadimova
Azerbaijan and OSCE Parliament Assembly (PA) discussed the prospects of developing bilateral relations.
President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Speaker of the Montenegrin Parliament Ranko Krivokapic arrived in Azerbaijan on April 16 to hold relevant talks.
Talking to journalists upon his arrival, Krivokapic said the next session of the OSCE PA would be held in Baku and thanked the Azerbaijani government and Parliament for taking the decision to host the event.
Hosting the OSCE PA session would be a remarkable event for Azerbaijan, he said, adding that the visit was also aimed at enhancing bilateral relations between Azerbaijan and Montenegro in political and economic fields.
On the same day, an agreement on holding the OSCE PA's 23rd annual session in Baku was signed between the Azerbaijani Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The document was signed by Krivokapic and Speaker of the Azerbaijani Parliament Ogtay Asadov.
Prior to the signing ceremony, Asadov and Krivokapic held a meeting to discuss the development of inter-parliamentary ties between Azerbaijan and Montenegro.
Krivokapic said there are good opportunities for expanding cooperation between the two countries.
Providing information on the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Asadov said the UN Security Council had adopted four resolutions on settling the conflict, but despite these and other resolutions by other organizations, Armenia continues to occupy 20 percent of Azerbaijan's lands.
Krivokapic, in turn, said the PA seeks to strengthen the mediating role of OSCE Minsk Group to resolve the conflict, adding that conflict resolution should be a priority.
President Ilham Aliyev received the delegation led by Krivokapic to discuss international and regional issues on the same day.
Krivokapic informed the Head of State of the OSCE PA's recent activities. Stressing the importance of holding the OSCE PA annual session in Azerbaijan, he described it as a new stage of cooperation, adding that the OSCE is interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan in various areas.
President Aliyev, for his part, expressed confidence that the OSCE Baku office's operation under a new status would contribute to expanding cooperation between the country and the organization.
Touching on the regional situation, President Aliyev noted that as a result of Armenia's aggressions, Azerbaijan's territorial integrity was violated and expressed regret over the fact that the country was faced with double standards.
Also, Prime Minister Artur Rasizade met Krivokapic to discuss the potential of boosting cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
Speaking at the meeting, Rasizade briefed Krivokapic on Azerbaijan's achievements in the economic and social fields.
They also exchanged views over the prospects of economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and Montenegro.
During his visit, Krivokapic also met Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, and the two sides expressed satisfaction at the development of bilateral relations and stressed the importance of parliamentary diplomacy.
Mammadyarov provided information on the progress of negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, and noted that Azerbaijan supports the settlement of the conflict in accordance with the principles of international law.
During the meeting, the sides exchanged views on other issues of mutual interest.